It's nearly November and that means that for the eighth(!) consecutive year I'll be spending the month writing a 50,000 word novel. I always have a blast doing this, even though I do ge a bit apprehensive in late October. I wonder if I'll really have enough time this year. If I can justify the extra couple of hours it takes to maintain the word count. Maybe I'll run out of ideas or finally realize just how crappy the writing is. Etc.
But I do it anyway. I think it's good for me. I've managed to get my daughters to try it before, and maybe this will be the year they really follow through (a teacher at their school is promoting it, too). In order to help spur my young writers along, I've shamelessly offered all manner of bribes: a nanowrimo t-shirt? You bet. Stickers? Done. Extra computer time? Check. Crocheted one-ear-flap beanies in the yarn of your choice? Check and check.
I've refined my own strategy over the years. The basic idea is to keep up with the word count daily, rather than doing the "binge" method of waiting until the weekend and trying to bang out 10k words. That's not a supportable model in my life (though it certainly works for other writers!). But not me. I'm a slow and steady guy -- I try to keep up with the 1,667 words per day that I need to get 50k by 11/30/12. I write a bit before work, then through lunch time, and then finish up what I don't get done that evening. I can easily type 40 words per minute (I can type much more quickly, but then I do tend to go back and do editing which slows things down tremendously) so if I have the scene/plot all set in my mind, I can usually get the 1,667 words typed before heading home after work. Then there's the matter of catching up with the weekend words. I try to get a little ahead during the week, to build up a kind of word buffer for the weekends when I can't guarantee I'll have time.
I've finally finished the three books I wrote for my daughters in 2008, 2009, and 2010. They're finished, edited, and just waiting around for me to decide what to do with them.
Now, time to go try to plan out some plot points for this year's novel.